“Dubai is a city of world records. It has the largest man-made island, the largest indoor amusement park, the largest building in the world, 163 stories to the top. Now it’s aiming for its most audacious ambition: The booming desert city that a decade ago had the world’s largest environmental footprint wants to become, by the year 2050, the most sustainable city on Earth.”
– Daniel Stone, National Geographic
It is no secret that Dubai has become one of the top meeting destinations for the world’s leading businesses. However, Dubai has become much more than a choice location for professional meetings, trade shows, and expos. In 2017, nearly 16 million people visited Dubai, a figure which includes business professionals and leisure travelers alike. This record-breaking tourism has positioned the city as one of the top travel destinations in the world for all types of travelers. Below are five reasons why Dubai has become so much more than a business destination for vacationers and travel aficionados.
1) Enjoy a view from the world’s tallest building
Dubai is home to the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. People travel from all corners of the map to enjoy a breathtaking view from the Burj Khalifa. With over 160 floors, the building has two main observation decks, which are located on the 125th and 148th floors. You can purchase your tickets upon arrival or save money and time by booking them online in advance. During your visit, you can have refreshments at the SKY Lounge and participate in a variety of interactive activities available to guests. Following your visit to the top of the Burj, you can relax and watch a captivating water performance held at the Dubai Fountain. Shows are free of charge for onlookers, who often gather outdoors to have dinner and watch the show from a table at one of the many fountain-side restaurants at the Dubai Mall.
2) Snow ski in the desert
Located within the confines of Dubai’s Mall of the Emirates, Ski Dubai is one of the only desert-based ski resorts in the world. With an indoor ski area totaling 22,500 square meters, Ski Dubai boasts a 25-story high mountain with five slopes of varying difficulty. The resort opened in 2005 and featured the world’s first indoor black diamond run. Skis, jackets, and equipment are provided with your ticket, or you can bring your equipment if you wish. If you grow chilly or are ready to switch gears, you can simply exit the resort and spend the remainder of your day shopping in the Mall of the Emirates. With over 700 stores and services, the Mall of the Emirates is among the largest malls in the world.
3) Ride a Camel!
Dubai is famous for its camel racing and even has a television station devoted exclusively to camels and racing. The camel plays such a key role in Dubai’s rich heritage that Dubai is now home to the largest, most impressive camel hospital in the world – the $40 million AED Dubai Camel Hospital in Marmoun. While taking part in an official camel race might be tricky, you can enjoy a leisurely ride on a camel on one of Dubai’s beautiful beaches or even arrange a full day desert safari that features a camel ride and professionally guided tour of Dubai’s desert terrain. Safaris typically begin during the middle of the day and end with a dinner that features local cuisine and entertainment. If you do not have several hours available for a safari, you can enjoy a short camel ride on Jumeirah Beach.
4) Book a room at the famous Burj Al Arab
“Shaped like the sail of an Arabian dhow ship and built for $1 billion, the hotel is full of extravagances like a Rolls-Royce chauffeur, a 14-piece set of Hermès toiletries, personal butlers — Burj says the staff-to-guest ratio is 6:1—and 24-karat gold everything.”
– Harrison Jacobs, Business Insider
Shaped like a beautiful sailboat, the Burj Al Arab is one of the world’s most luxurious hotels. The hotel was built in 1998 to accommodate the world’s most discerning guests. From marble staircases to 24-karat gold furnishings to private butlers, Burj Al Arab offers an unforgettable experience to guests. If you cannot afford to part with $1,500 for a night’s accommodations, you can make reservations to dine at the hotel’s famous Al Mahara restaurant. With its underwater theme, the restaurant features spectacular sights and seafood dishes prepared by award-winning chefs. The wall to ceiling aquarium in the restaurant provides a fascinating environment to enjoy a five-star dining experience.
5) Check out Dubai’s Most Famous Souks
Dubai is internationally known for its awe-inspiring souks. Commonly known in America as marketplaces or bazaars, souks are often located in outdoor areas and are often the heartbeat of the neighborhoods where they are located. Among Dubai’s most impressive souks are the Gold Souk, the Spice Souk, and the Textile Souk. Each of these souks is located in a different region of Dubai, enabling visitors to become familiar with some of Dubai’s local neighborhoods. If you plan to visit one or more of Dubai’s souks, be sure to wear comfortable shoes, as it is easy for visitors to spend the better part of a day at one souk alone. Also, be prepared to negotiate with vendors, many of whom welcome the opportunity to engage with prospective overseas buyers. Finally, plan to bring a spacious bag, as you will likely run across many local treasures and souvenirs that are hand-crafted by the area’s most talented artists, craftsmen, and chefs.
Dubai is more than just a convenient meeting location for the world’s top leaders and executives. Dubai is an award-winning destination for business professionals and leisure travelers alike. From breathtaking views to innovative fairs to stellar shopping, it is no surprise that more people are traveling to Dubai than ever. And with a first-class international airport, Dubai is easily accessible for prospective visitors in virtually every region of the world.